The Blackbyrds - Songs


The Blackbyrds are a highly acclaimed and veteran R&B and jazz-funk fusion group with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous during the 1970s. They are best known for the upbeat and danceable "Walking In Rhythm" (1975), "Happy Music" (1976), and "Rock Creek Park" (1976).

Formed in 1973 by famed jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd (December 9, 1932 - February 4, 2013), who was teaching music at Howard University in Washington, D.C. at the time, the original lineup consisted of multireedist Allan Barnes (September 27, 1949 - July 25, 2016), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Keith Killgo (vocals, drums), Barney Perry (guitar), and Kevin Toney (keyboards), who were all Byrd's students. By 1975, Orville Saunders (guitar) had joined the group, and other early members also included Jay Jones (flute, saxophone). The Blackbyrds signed with Fantasy Records in 1973 and released their eponymous debut album the following year.

The Blackbyrds debuted in 1974 on both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts with "Do It, Fluid," and their fame took off the next year with "Walking In Rhythm" (1975), which made the Top 5 on the Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, and R&B charts and became their greatest hit. This smash, which soon after became a million-seller and received a Grammy nomination, was followed by several other top hits spanning all three charts that include "Flyin' High" (1975), "Happy Music" (1976), "Rock Creek Park" (1976), "Time Is Movin'" (1977), and "Soft And Easy" (1977). "Happy Music" and "Rock Creek Park" both feature Merry Clayton as guest vocalist.

The Blackbyrds are widely regarded as a major influence on hip-hop, and their songs, especially "Rock Creek Park," have been sampled extensively by such artists as Eric B. & Rakim, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and Ice Cube. After they disbanded in 1981, The Blackbyrds reformed many years later in 2012 and have continued to perform and record to the present day, with some personnel changes along the way. The current lineup is a trio consisting of original members Joe Hall and Keith Killgo and early member Orville Saunders.



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The Blackbyrds

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